NYCFC welcomed LAFC to the Bronx for the first time aiming for that first W of the season following draws vs. Orlando and D.C.
It marked the second meeting between the sides, following the 2-2 tie at Banc of California Stadium in 2018.
Dome Torrent made two changes to his line-up, bringing in Ronald Matarrita and Ebenezer Ofori in place of Ben Sweat and Jesus Medina.
NYCFC came out ready to play but their intensity was met with similar energy from LAFC, making for a tight, cagey but competitive opening 30’ with few clear chances to score.
Sean Johnson, coming off a huge game against D.C. United showed up again on St Patrick’s Day, as Carlos Vela took a shot in the 29” minute that was knocked up over the crossbar by the U.S. international. The critical save kept the game scoreless, giving NYCFC a chance to retaliate.
When the opening goal came, it was one of the highest quality from a new Bronx hero in the 39th minute…
Mitriță broke through the LAFC defense down the left side and strode clear, cutting back onto his strong foot and firing an unstoppable strike into the roof of the net.
It was the Romanian’s first goal for his new Club and he almost had another two minutes later when his free-kick came back off the top of the crossbar with Tyler Miller beaten.
Sadly, City’s lead would last only until the 43rd minute when Carlos Vela hit back on the counter to make it 1-1 on the stroke of half-time.
The fight didn’t stop there, the intensity continued into the second half.
Ben Sweat was introduced as a second half substitute and he made an almost-immediate impact, creating the second NYCFC goal of the match for his captain.
Sweat never gave up chasing the ball down to the goal line, winning it back and pulling it across goal for The Ringleader to do the rest, as he fired into the top corner for his fourth goal for the Club.
The race to the finish was on, both teams went back and forth – LAFC desperate to find the equalizer and NYCFC to seal their first win of the season.
Maxi Moralez set up an opportunity to score with a cross to Ring who headed for goal but Miller was there to make a good save.
With City in the ascendancy looking for a third, there was a sting in the tail as Sweat felled Blessing to give Vela the opportunity to score his second from the spot in the 76th minute.
The Mexican did the rest, sending Johnson the wrong way to tie up the game at 2-2.
That was how it stayed, meaning City had to be content with a third draw from the opening three games of the season.
NYCFC Head Coach Domènec Torrent
On NYCFC giving up an equalizer after scoring each of their goals today…
“In the first half when we were able to score in the last five minutes [of the first half], we have to take control of the game and keep the ball. And we made a mistake. We lose the ball and Vela is an amazing player and he’s a top player for MLS and they scored… Even the top teams when they win, the first thing is to keep control and play with confidence.
But if you are able to score it’s easier for us after that to play and we need to score more goals. In the first half, maybe, we can score three goals, we deserve three goals, [for LAFC], maybe one or two.
But I repeat, I know it’s not good because when you draw the game at home, it’s not a good result for us. But if you ask me about the performance, I think we played well.”